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Macs with Apple CPUs will get advanced macOS Big Sur boot options

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced its plans to launch Macs and MacBooks running on its own processors – rather than using Intel – at WWDC 2020, and it’s now revealed some of the advanced macOS Big Sur boot options that these new machines will benefit from.

As Wccftech reports, Apple hosted a WWDC session called ‘Explore the new system architecture of Apple Silicon Macs' where it explained some of the benefits that Macs and MacBooks running on Apple Silicone will have compared to Apple computers running on Intel hardware.

The new boot process for future Macs will allow customers to install multiple instances of macOS – including different versions – and should make recovering macOS if something goes wrong a lot easier.

At the moment you have to remember a range of keyboard shortcuts to get into the macOS boot menu, but with the new Macs, you’ll be able to do that by pressing and holding down the Touch ID button, which will bring up a menu with various startup options.

Various boot options, such as target disk mode and single-user mode, can be accessed by pressing a single shortcut button, rather than having to use a complex series of key presses.

Better recovery options

If your Mac ever runs into issues, one of the most common fixes is starting it up in recovery mode, which helps you identify and solve the problem. Upcoming Macs and MacBooks running on Apple silicon will come with two new features: Mac Sharing Mode and Startup Disk.

Startup Disk is perhaps the most interesting of these, as it comes with security features based on iPhone and iPad Secure Boot. You can also boot from an external disk. 

Another security mode will let you install any compatible version of macOS and third-party kernel extensions.

It seems that you’ll be able to disable Secure Boot, Root Volume Authentication, and System Integrity Protection too, which could reassure people who are concerned that Apple’s move to its own processors will give the company an excuse to lock down its Macs further.

The WWDC session is worth watching, as it also delves into the performance implications of Apple Silicon as well – with it using unified memory architecture between the CPU and GPU.

This all serves to make us even more excited to see these new Macs, which will hopefully launch later this year.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.